Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Phil Hester
Artist: John McCrea, Christian Dibari
Release Date: 11th Nov 2015
In this latest issue, we don’t learn a great deal in regard to the main story thread, with writer Phil Hester keeping his cards pretty close to his chest. The issue continues the split narrative established earlier on in the series, with Waterson’s team’s journey to Antarctica bearing the weight of the main plot. It’s here we learn that the series’ ‘big bad’ is akin to something you might find in the pages an H.P. Lovecraft novel, a formless entity attempting to destroy the magical underpinnings of the universe and bring about an endless void of nothingness for eternity.
The second team’s remit is more about firefighting; i.e., to clear up the mess caused by the Ragnarok inspired events. A task which leads them to Northern Burma, where they attempt to coax a group of spectral children to lead the Great Elephant of Burmese mythology over the Holy Mountain so that the sun may once more have a body.
Whilst it feels like he’s drip feeding certain elements of the story, Hester’s wicked sense of humour simply shines in this issue. His witty, acerbic dialogue is some of the funniest I’ve read this year, and definitely the best of the series so far, with some cracking one-liners and comebacks that genuinely had me in tears. The gloriously blunt tirade by the children in the sacred cave is an undoubted highlight, their reaction to Nate’s pleas to continue their tradition is simply priceless.
It’s everything that’s great about this book contained in one scene. John McCrea’s gift for creature design and humorous compositions comes to the fore once again, in an image of a mythical elephant slumped over a rock, with the body of the sun on it’s back, lying next to a pile of it’s own shit. The combination of that and a bunch of foul-mouthed ghost kids, is indicative of how both writer and artist have simply, and quite brilliantly, embraced the outlandish, almost nonsensical subject matter, and managed to strike a perfect balance of the pseudo-serious and the hilarious.
If I was being picky, the dialogue for some characters is perhaps not what you might expect, especially in the backup story, which details Waterson’s past a Native American Shaman and the origins of Killer of Enemies, but its hilarious, so I’m going to completely overlook that and just enjoy the ride. On a related note, the backup art is great once more, and gives the issue a consistency due to the similarities between both, with Christian Dibari favouring a bolder, slightly less detailed approach, which is no less pleasing on the eye.
Magic, Monsters, Myths, Mayhem, and Mirth…what more could you ask for?!